New energy efficiency rules hitting the Private Rented Sector have come into force – but do you know your rights and responsibilities?
Tenants can now ask landlords for permission to carry out energy efficiency improvements to privately rented properties – with the landlord unable to unreasonably refuse consent.
The new legislation was introduced on April 1, with improvements ranging from everything from improved insulation and replacement windows to solar water heating systems. They also extend to installing a gas supply in an off gas property where the mains are within 23 metres from the property.
Under the new rules, which apply in England and Wales, the tenant must pay for the works and no upfront costs should fall onto the landlord – unless they have already agreed to contribute.
The Residential Landlords Association is reminding members that they must act quickly once a request is received – with a period of just a month to respond.
The new legislation states that consent for the works must not be ‘unreasonably refused’ – although there are a number of instances where the landlord does not need to consider the request – for example if it would hit the house price, knocking more than 5% from the market value.
There are also some circumstances in which the tenant cannot legitimately ask for improvements – for example if they are due to move out, or eviction proceedings are underway.
However tenants can take landlords to a tribunal if they believe they have not complied with the regulations.
Richard Jones, RLA company secretary and policy consultant said: “There are a lot of myths surrounding this legislation, including rumours that the landlord must carry out or pay for the works.
“This is not the case and in fact the tenant must prove that they have adequate funds available to pay for it.
“What we would say is that it is imperative for landlords to take requests seriously. A landlord must respond reasonably to any such request and cannot just dismiss it out of hand.”
The RLA is also reminding landlords that under separate regulations from April 2018 onwards a minimum Energy Performance Certificate rating of E will be required in all private rented accommodation.
For more information on the new legislation click here.